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Laguna Beach

 Volume 11, Issue 76  | September 20, 2019

Laguna Beach Cross Country Team proves they belong among the elite programs in the nation

By Scott Wittkop

As the sun set behind the hills of Norco on September 18, the Laguna Beach Cross Country team arrived at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex for their second meet of the 2018 season, the Woodbridge Invitational. The 38th Annual Woodbridge Sketchers Cross Country Classic is the largest cross country meet in the nation, with over 350 schools across 15 states. 

The pinnacle of the two-day invitational was the Dough Speck Sweepstakes Race, which had 9 returning state champions and four national qualifiers, making this year the most competitive race in the meet’s 38-year history. Among the nation’s best teams was Laguna Beach High School. 

First up were the boys. At the start of the race, the leaders went out in a blistering 4:32 mile. Seniors Sebastian Fisher and Ryan Smithers ran side by side the entire race, averaging just under 5:53 per mile, throughout the 3-mile course. Both Fisher and Smithers finished in the top 35 and ran well under the modern school record, clocking a 14:38 and 14:40 respectively. Following closely behind was Senior Zack Falkowski (15:08), Sophomore Mateo Bianchi (15:20), and Senior Cal Neilson (15:21), all posting times that would leave their mark on Laguna Beach High School’s all-time top ten 3-mile list. 

Laguna Beach Cross group

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Submitted photo

Boys Cross Country Team in record books as fastest team in LBHS history

In his second cross country race ever, sophomore Will Compton closed out the Breakers’ top six by running a phenomenal time of 15:51, solidifying his spot on the CIF Southern Section’s number one ranked team, LBHS. 

As a team, Laguna Beach ran a team time of 1:15:07, establishing themselves as the fastest team in LBHS history. The Breakers were the top Orange County team, as well as fastest small school (Division 4/5) team in the 38 years of the meet’s existence. Coaches Scott Wittkop and Tommy Newton-Neal were very pleased with how the team stayed relaxed and competed in the electric environment of the Sweepstakes race. 

Coming off of a meet victory up in San Francisco, the LBHS girls cross country team was also invited into the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge. They also clocked the fastest team time in the school’s history with a time of 1:31:21. Senior Hannah Konkel broke the school record in the 3-mile running a time of 17:31. 

Both cross country teams are currently ranked in the top 5 of CIF Southern Section and will run their next race in Central Park at the Sunset League Prelims meet on Sept 25. 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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